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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Aug 30, 2012 1:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: First year = best year

Herewith a new theory: the year that the Grateful Dead debuts a tune is frequently (not invariably) the best year for that tune.

1971: Bertha; Sugar Magnolia (played a few times in '70 and hits its guitar-glory stride in '71)

1973: Eyes of the World; Here Comes Sunshine (so good they effectively retired it after playing it only once in '74. Why mess with perfection?); They Love Each Other (who doesn't prefer the bouncy version to the Dramamine one?)

1974: Weather Report Suite (debuted in late '73, played throughout '74, retired at end of that year, never to be resuscitated in full)

1977: Estimated Prophet; Fire on the Mountain

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, and there are counterexamples (e.g., Sugaree, which only peaks after it's been turned over for several years), but I'm struck how often a song emerges fully formed from these guys. Or perhaps it's just the inspiration that comes when a song is still new and exciting.


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Poster: William Tell Date: Aug 30, 2012 1:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: First year = best year

I patented this theory; it's now a paradigm...this is one small subsection of the larger, more encompassing, "early is better" (except in, a specific act of sex...ahem, nevermind).

But, as for the predictions holding true for songs in a debut year, I defer to those with more interest & experience.

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Poster: stratocaster Date: Aug 30, 2012 4:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: First year = best year

I wouldn't say that holds true for all the material...

tunes that got a lot better with seasoning from their debut years

Dark Star
Bird Song
Scarlet Begonias
Not Fade Away
West LA
Row Jimmy
China Cat
Greatest Story
He's Gone
Tennessee Jed

This post was modified by stratocaster on 2012-08-30 23:18:26

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Aug 31, 2012 9:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: First year = best year

yea I'd have to disagree with you on this. Sugar Magnolia was at its all time weakest in 1971. It was also debuted in 1970...

Your claim for 1973 might hold some weight, but HCS was only barely played in any other year. same story with weather report.

I think your claim for 1977 also holds some weight.

Though Jack Straw, Looks like rain and Deal are three more examples of songs that did better with age.